The final phase of the Jammu and Kashmir state local elections was held on Tuesday, October 16. On the day, clashes between security forces and anti-India activists erupted in the summer state capital Srinagar; tear gas was used to dispersed the crowds. A raid on a home supposedly housing separatist militants was also reported and resulted in a localized exchange of gunfire. Local authorities temporarily disrupted phone and data services.
Overall, voter turnout was low at 35 percent, largely due to the calls to boycott the election issued by the two main parties in the region, the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) and the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (JKPDP).
Votes are expected to be counted and results announced on October 20. Attacks by militant groups targeting election-related events remain possible as the results are released. Political demonstrations, calls for shutdown strikes, and associated transportation disruptions are also possible through the end of the electoral period, as are further telecommunication cuts. Train services, which had been suspended in the Kashmir Valley on October 16 due to security concerns, have now resumed.
Jammu and Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority state in Hindu-majority India. After independence from colonial rule (August 1947), India and Pakistan fought a war over control of the region and a local insurgency has been ongoing in the Indian Kashmir Valley since the late 1980s.
Individuals in Jammu and Kashmir are advised to closely monitor the situation and avoid all protests and other election-related events due to the possibility of violence. As a reminder, some Western governments advise their citizens against travel to parts of Kashmir, notably areas along the Line of Control (LoC), due to the significant risk of violence.
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